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Covid-19 boosters to be made available to more people in NI

The Public Health Agency has announced that ‘an opportunity has arisen’ for more people in Northern Ireland to receive a Covid-19 booster vaccination.

While the spring booster vaccination programme will shortly be coming to an end, those who turn 75 years old by June 30, 2022 (those born before June 30, 1947), will be able now to receive a spring booster dose.

As well as people aged 75 years and over, the spring booster will be offered to residents in care homes for older people, and those aged 12 years and over with weakened immune systems and the Public Health Agency (PHA) is urging those eligible to get the booster jab now before the offer closes.

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Dr Jillian Johnston, Joint Interim Assistant Director in Health Protection at the PHA, said: “Covid-19 is more serious in older people and those with a weakened immune system. Protection from the vaccine may be lower and may decline more quickly in these people.

The Covid-19 spring booster is available to certain people. Picture: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press.

“Although vaccines are expected to provide good protection against severe Covid-19 disease, protection against mild infection with the Omicron variant seems to decline quickly, even after a booster dose, so the additional spring booster will help address this.

“This spring booster is being offered as a precaution to those at extremely high risk, most of whom received their first booster around six months ago. If the number of infections increases over the summer, this booster should help to reduce your risk of being admitted to hospital with Covid-19.”

What are the spring booster programme arrangements?

Care homes: the spring booster programme began in care homes at the start of April and community pharmacies will complete this element of the programme.

Over 75s (those born between June 1, 1947 and before June 30, 1947): should make arrangements to receive their spring booster vaccination via a participating community pharmacy.

Over 75s (those born before May 31, 1947): In addition to being invited by their own GP to receive a spring booster, these individuals will have the option to receive their spring booster vaccination via a participating community pharmacy.

Immunosuppressed individuals should be offered the booster providing there is at least three months from the previous dose. Trust clinicians should write to advise their patients of this and they have the option to receive their spring booster vaccination via a participating community pharmacy or at a HSC Trust-led vaccination clinic.

Further information on the spring booster is available at www.pha.site/springbooster

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